Units of Measurement: Feet, Pounds, Inches, and Ounces

The United States is a great place to study English; however, the United States uses a different measuring system than most other countries in the world. Rather than the metric system that uses meters and grams, the US customary system of measurement uses feet and pounds. Most students who come to the United States to study English find the US system challenging. Today we will discuss how to convert between the metric and US customary systems of measurement for distance and mass.

Historically, the US system of measuring distance has been based on measurements of the human body. The inch is based on the thumb, the foot is based on the foot, and the yard is based on the distance from the nose to the tip of outstretched fingers. The word for "inch" in many other languages, interestingly, is related for the word for "thumb." 

Here is a list of the most common US units of distance:

1 inch (in)
1 foot (ft) = 12 inches
1 yard (yd) = 3 feet
1 mile (mi) = 5280 feet

To convert US distance to metric distance, remember that 1 inch = 2.54 cm. That means about 30 cm fit in 1 foot. 1 yard is, then, very close to 1 meter.

For example, let's say you are 168 cm tall. 
If you divide 168 by 2.54, you get approximately 66. (168 / 2.54 = 66.1)
You are 66 in tall. 
Then, divide 66 by 12 and you get 5.5. (66 / 12 = 5.5)
You are 5.5 feet tall or 5 ft and 6 in.

The pound has been used since the Roman Empire. European traders divided the pound into 16 ounces. That way, the traders could divide by half, quarters, or eighths. 

Here is a list of the most common US units of mass:

1 ounce (oz) 
1 pound (lb) = 16 ounces
1 ton (T) = 2000 pounds

To convert US mass to metric mass, remember that 1 pound is 454 grams. There are 1000 grams in a kilogram; that means that there are .45 kilograms in 1 pound or about 2.2 pounds for 1 kilogram.

For example, let's say you weight 59 kg.
If you multiply 59 by 1000, you get 59,000. (59 * 1000 = 59,000)
You weigh 59,000 grams.
Then, divide 59,000 by 454 and you get 129.9. (59,000 / 454 = 129.9)
You are 129.9 lbs or approximately 130 lbs.

Nomen Global students get a lot of practice converting metric units to US units because they live in the United States! Learning how to convert units is a great skill! To learn more about Nomen Global, visit our website.

1 comment:

  1. Because of their many eccentricities, English customary units clearly are more cumbersome to use than metric units in trade and in science.

    distance measurement